Álvaro Pereira and time for a Brazilian sea change

Once adjudged as one of Europe’s top attacking full-backs, Álvaro Pereira has been on the fringe of things at Internazionale since an August 2012 transfer to Italy.

The Uruguay international has found the switch to Serie A tough going, and as such has sealed an 18-month loan deal to São Paulo in Brazil. With the World Cup on the horizon, the 28-year-old needs regular first-team football and is more likely to get it consistently at the Estádio do Morumbi.

Pereira has spoken of his relief after the temporary deal was sealed, and it appears that the left-back’s time at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza is all but over.

The move to Brazil will give the Uruguayan experience of playing in his third South American country, and will be a new challenge for him. Pereira started out in his homeland with Miramar Misiones, before seeing his profile raised with a switch to Argentina.

Firstly at Quilmes and later in the colours of Argentinos Juniors, Pereira proved himself as an exciting wideman with all the skills and ability to succeed. In his sole season with the Buenos Aires outfit, Pereira’s eye for goal was apparent also as he hit 11 goals.

Álvaro PereiraThis form earned him a move to Europe, but his route to the pinnacle of the game in the continent was not automatic. The unlikely destination of Romanian side CFR Cluj was Pereira’s first stop, where he had the chance to showcase his abilities in the club’s debut campaign in the Champions League.

His willingness to get forward, athleticism and ability to provide for others caught the eye of plenty of scouts, but it was astute transfer market aficionados Porto that snapped him up after just 12 months in eastern Europe.

After a solid first campaign at the Estádio do Dragão, Pereira played a key role in a fantastic 2010-11 season for the Portuguese giants. Under the tutelage of André Villas-Boas, Porto won a memorable treble, including the Europa League crown.

Despite the presence of the likes of Radamel Falcao, Hulk and João Moutinho, Pereira was one of the most eye-catching players in the Porto side. His lung-busting runs up and down the flank became signature, while his ability on the ball consistently improved.

After winning the Primeira Liga for the second time the following campaign, it was clear that some of Europe’s top clubs were interested in luring him away from Portugal.

Chelsea are believed to have had an approach for Pereira rejected during his time at Porto, and in the end it was Inter who won the race to sign the Uruguayan in the summer of 2012.

Despite showing glimpses of the form that made him such an asset at Porto, the last 18 months have been a source of frustration for Pereira. Since Walter Mazzarri’s appointment as head coach, the South American has found himself on the fringes, with Yuto Nagatomo taking his role in the side.

After only two Serie A starts this season, the move to Brazil is understandably a source of excitement for the Uruguay international. There is no reason that Pereira cannot be a real star at next summer’s World Cup, with a fresh start overdue for the left-back. If this happens, a return to Europe and Champions League football will certainly be on the cards.

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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